Western comic: EROS/PSYCHE Guest Review by Foxy Lady Ayame

January 7th, 2015

erospsycheBack in May, 2014, YNN Correspondent Niki S wrote in to tell us about a lesbian comic of interest.  I invited anyone who was planning on reading it to write about it and as a result, we’re starting off our Guest Review Wednesdays with today we have a brand new Guest Reviewer here at Okazu! I’d like you all to welcome Foxy Lady Ayame, Ayame will be taking a look at this interesting new European comic that is published by Norma Editorial.

Hello, I’m Foxy Lady Ayame from The Beautiful World, a blog dedicated to miscellaneous storytelling media and particularly in anime and manga.

Eros/Psyche (promotional video) by Maria Llovet is a mysterious comic about a small intern all-girl school. Maria Llovet makes the reader plunge into the cryptic world of “The Rose” through the eyes of Sara. There, fate has it, she’s lead by a scarf to meet Silje, the ‘key’ student. They swear loyalty to one another as blood sisters. She joins happily the bucolic life at the school with uncanny gothic rituals and the strict rules; she studies books written in codes and sits for exams that decide which student is going to have to leave.

Sara’s so absorbed in how free she feels and how close she is to Silje, that she doesn’t mull over the suicide of a classmate, or the need for ‘rebellion’ Vanna had, or her last words before she was expelled. Sara doesn’t notice another classmate, Tamlyn’s, budding feelings for a boy either, something that seems treasonous. And, despite the fact that The Chamber comes again and again to the forefront of events, Sara has no will to explore it further and acquiesces to Silje’s unwillingness to talk about it.

New students come and go throughout the year. Silje reciprocates Sara’s feelings. By the last months of the year, only these two remain, until it’s time for the last test. Sara wakes up to find Silje departing suddenly. Silje tells Sara that she’s the next key student, gives her a guide book, apologizes and says her goodbyes. Perhaps they’ll meet again like Eros and Psyche in the Greek myth Silje tells Sara.

I bought and read the German edition by Tokyopop, which has a striking pink cover with the glossy figures of the main characters on the front and a smaller grey-ghostly version of this on the back cover. The whole comic is in black and white but otherwise it doesn’t remind one of manga very much. As a result, I wonder why it got the bronze medal in the 6th International Manga Award. It has some influences from Revolutionary Girl Utena and S-Class Yuri manga, but that’s it. The atmosphere is wonderfully eerie with the abandoned buildings, the creepy dolls and symbolic scissors. The panels are almost always rectangles, which had me doubting the artist’s talent, but they work well, giving off a cinematic or stop-motion experience.

Unfortunately, the ending is open and leaves the reader with more questions than answers. In her blog, Llovet expresses her desire to continue the story, but we don’t know anything certain yet.

Art: 8
Story: 7
Characters: 6, there’s small fluctuation in feelings
Yuri/Lesbian: 7
Service: 1, if some nudity counts

Overall: 7

If you love emotive stories that trigger your imagination, this one is for you. Otherwise, I’m not sure if EROS/PSYCHE is worth the 12 euros I spent.

Thank you Ayame, for taking the time and effort to read and review this book for us!

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3 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    Hello Ayame,

    you beat me to it. ;)

    I got the book when it arrived at ‘my’ shop and read it two times in order to review it. However, I never got the urge to tell the world about it. The book feels a bit too artsy and vague to me. I never heard of the original story of ‘Eros and Psyche’ before, but at Wikipedia I’ve been told that it’s a popular motif in the arts. Maybe ‘EROS/PSYCHE’ makes more sense after you’ve read the version by Apuleius.

    IMO there’s just too much to guess …

    We never learn for what they attend ‘The Rose’.

    The rituals seem rather nonsensical than gothic – except the vote.

    We are told that at ‘The Rose’ no time passes. The pupils take growth inhibition pills though.

    Sara’s full name is ‘Sara 3’ – so maybe it’s some kind of genetic experiment?

    We never learn how Silje got the scar – only that it’s Sara’s fault.
    We see a wall filled with portrait photos of former key pupils – not with their names but with the years spent at the ‘Rose'(?).
    At the end it seems we see what’s inside the chamber or maybe not, because one could hardly be terrified by a it.

    At Tokyopop you get a preview:
    http://www.tokyopop.de/leseproben/leseprobe-eros-psyche/

    Best wishes,

    Peter

  2. Thanks for the comment Peter!

    Yes, indeed it’s more of an atmospheric book than a proper story. Perhaps I should have lowered my evaluation of it -at least the story. Then again I was afraid that I’d judge it unfairly since I don’t think this was a book meant primarily for me in more than one ways. I can appreciate though how it puts you in the process of creating theories for this eerie world. I really hope that we’ll get a more down-to-earth sequel.

    When I mentioned Utena in my review I was referring to the mysterious existence of the school and the rose being the logo of the school. From what I gather from the few hints we have, I’d say it’s a place of escapism, one of these places adolescence dwells. All the rituals point to witchcraft being the main subject at this ‘school’. Teens in RL weave their own small reality by having their own slang and rituals that seem absurd to adults. I think that’s what Llovet tries to depict with her story and world.

    The numbers next to the names are supposed to be the number of students with the same name that have attended the school. Take a look at this post where the author explains some things http://mariallovet.blogspot.gr/2011/12/erospsyche-curiosidades-curiosities.html

    As for the chamber, my best guess is that the girls were shown reality and/or themselves bare, bare as in what lays in their soul. I believe this makes much more sense in the context of the concept I told you before. This might explain the suicide as well. But yes, I can’t say it punches you in the stomach.

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